Recently in this world, action figures and Polly Pockets have been replaced for Playstations and smartphones. Even though our society continues to worry about the many toy hazards and lead based paints, the younger generation’s addiction for technology is applicable to open them up to an abundant of hidden dangers. Comparable to stepping on Legos in the night, parents can be caught off guard when it comes to children and automated social sites.
One major concern that technology brings to our society is cyberbullying. “With 99 percent of children in grades 4 through 11 in Canada using the Internet, it is important to determine the risk of cyberbullying” (Beran et al. 1). With technology growing exponentially everyday, cyberbullying has become a major issue with our youth. Research shows that parents, teachers, and schools are able to reduce the amount of cyberbullying that occurs by taking action directed at this problem. One key area parents and educators need to focus on is the pervasiveness of cyberbullying. Gable, Van Acker, and Snakenborg mention how some schools have made an effort to try and put a stop to cyberbullying by stating, “A Prevention Curriculum is an eight-session curriculum designed for students in Grades” (92).
Although, throughout the past couple years, schools have encouraged nationwide discussions about cyberbullying, the overwhelming reality has shown little to no improvement when it comes to children and digital aggression. Cyberbullying can be very harmful to the youth. It can lead to depression, anxiety and sometimes even suicide. Once something is publicized on the internet, it will never vanish and can even reappear at times renewing the pain of cyberbullying. Today, many bullies are refraining from physical bullying, but instead are choosing to bully using Snapchat, Facebook, instant messaging, and other online modes of communication. Although cyber bullying does not have the same obvious signs that physical bullying has, it can be as damaging or more in the long term.It is hard for parents to protect children if they do not understand the problem at hand with cyberbullying.
Parents and guardians should be the ones their kids run to when something is wrong. However, parents are often the last ones to know about problems due to their kids fearing being into trouble. In Doane, Kelley, and Pearson’s article they wrote about the many actions that can be taken by parents in order to put a stop to cyberbullying. They wrote, “Model appropriate technology usage. Don’t harass or joke about others while online, especially around your children.
Don’t text while driving. Your kids are watching and learning” (1). Whether our children are the ones being bullied or the ones bullying, how the parents act has a large impact on the actions of their children. Children tend to repeat the words and actions of their parents and data shows that parents who display bad manners will be inherited by the child and shown in public. “Monitor your child’s activities while they are online.
This can be done informally (through active participation in, and supervision of, your child’s online experience) and formally (through software). Use discretion when covertly spying on your kids. This could cause more harm than good if your child feels their privacy has been violated” (Doane, Kelley, and Pearson 1). It is proven that the more attention given to the child the better they behave on and off school grounds.
Those who lack in attention find ways to gain it by cyberbullying someone else. The lack of attention gives them a reason to look for and talk to someone who will be giving them the attention they claim to need. Another way parents can help prevent cyberbullying is by looking for warning signs that something unusual is going on with respect to technology usage. If children become antisocial or their use of the internet becomes obsessive, they could be a victim or a perpetrator of cyberbullying. If a child is not showing warning signs of bullying it still could be happening behind the screen. For most parents, it is hard to determine whether their child is being bullied or if they are bullying another child in “silence.” The proper education for children about appropriate internet?based behaviors can also help prevent the damage happening. Explaining the problems that can be created when technology is misused will help educate children about the correct use for technology.
When a child is given some form of technology, it is giving them the key to another world. With technology, anything can be happening and with it becoming more advanced, it can always be tracked or evidence can always be found. “Establish that all rules for interacting with people in “real life” also apply for interacting online or through cell phones. Convey that cyberbullying inflicts harm and causes pain in the real world as well as in cyberspace” (Doane, Kelley, and Pearson 1).
Parents should set limitations to their children’s technology use as well as apply rules to when it is the proper time to use it. A screen free world needs to be experienced involving face-to-face communication with real people, true interactions, and physical emotions that computer communication can never provide. When cyberbullying occurs, it can affect what happens in the real world and cyberworld permanently.